Post-Game Analysis: Syracuse
by Jonathan Hodges
Well, Northwestern (1-0, 0-0) is back up to its old
tricks as it built a 35-13 lead in the second half only to watch that
evaporate by being torched through the air and then stage a come-from-behind win
as backup QB Trevor Siemian threw the game-winning TD pass to Demetrius
Fields with just 44 seconds left in regulation to beat Syracuse 42-41.
The Cardiac 'Cats are alive and well, but the performance showed that
the questions about the secondary were indeed legitimate and there is
indeed a bit of a QB controversy with Kain Colter giving way to Siemian
for that key final drive.
Player of the Game: Northwestern
KR/PR/RB Venric Mark (14 rushes for 82 yards, 2 receptions for 16 yards
& 1 TD, 2 punt returns for 134 yards & 1 TD, 3 kick returns for
Mark provided the spark that NU needed, taking his first punt return 82
yard to the house to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard for the first
time in 2012 while also adding a receiving TD and leading all players
with 281 all-purpose yards (and also setting the NU single-game punt
return yardage record with 134).
Northwestern Honorable Mentions: LB
Chi Chi Ariguzo (7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 fumble recovery returned for 33
yards & 1 TD, 1 interception returned 49 yards), Demetrius Fields
(8 receptions for 83 yards & 1 TD).
What to Work on: Pass
Defense (allowed 470 pass yards & 4 receiving TDs along with a 68%
completion rate and 4 costly pass penalties), sacking the QB (had just
1 sack on 65 pass attempts, but did generate 5 QB hurries),
special teams (had a major gaffe on the first punt when the snap was
too soon and hit a blocker as well as on a kickoff where the ball was
on the ground for too long and led to a negligible return).
win is a win, but the Wildcats showed some major holes, particularly on
defense, and thankfully got a good amount of breaks (two big returns
off of turnovers and Mark's punt return for TD) in order to make up a
big difference in terms of total yardage (Syracuse dominated on the
stats sheet to the tune of 596-337 total yards). NU will need to shore
things up and play a consistent game over 60 minutes in order to beat a
solid Vanderbilt team next week in the 'Cats' home opener.
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